The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize
If Obama 2009 is the reindeer steak, Polanski 2010 will be the lingonberry sauce.


Mary Eberstadt


TO: Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairperson, Norwegian Nobel Committee

FROM: Your 2010 Peace Prize Search Committee

Dear Sir:

First, our warmest congratulations on your committee’s stunning Prize choice for 2009!

We hope that you don’t let the carping from around the world get you down. Okay, so Barack Obama is to global experience what Silvio Berlusconi is to stoicism. But what’s a worldwide embarrassment compared to typing “Norway” into Google News and actually getting hits back? So what if Lech Walesa — all right, and a few million other critics — complained, “Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast.” Tell Walesa he can kiss this year’s pickled-herring gift box goodbye. What did he ever do for world peace, anyway?

On the other hand, that’s some new standard you’ve set in a Peace Prize winner! Not to mention a hard act for your 2010 search committee to follow. Michael Moore we rejected as just too obvious. Hugo Chávez’s 15 seconds have come and gone. Given the challenges of finding a candidate who can live up to this year’s winner, we also took a long hard look at the posthumous possibilities. But these too seemed overfished. We thought of honoring Martin Luther King Jr. again, but his ability actually to give a compelling speech, as opposed to just getting praised for such, made some search-committee members worry about odious comparisons to the 2009 winner. And Jesus Christ was unanimously rejected as too divisive.

Nevertheless, and despite the challenges, we’re pleased to report that we have arrived at a truly serendipitous Candidate for 2010.

1. First and most important, as a peacemaker our Candidate has already accomplished the nearly impossible: He has united political opinion on the American Left, Right, and Center as no one else in recent memory.

Admittedly, what has brought those factions together is the idea of locking our Candidate in an American slammer and losing the key. But let’s not overemphasize the negative here. Not even our 2009 Prize winner can claim to have made Katha Pollitt write like Ann Coulter. We can hardly wait to see how our Candidate unifies opinion in the Middle East!

2. Similarly, though in a different way, our Candidate for the 2010 Peace Prize has also united Hollywood like no other criminal offender in years (Heidi Fleiss arguably excepted).

Recall the entertainment community’s courageous defense of our Candidate during his recent time of need. It’s a safe bet that no one will be happier with our proposed choice for 2010. And you know what that means: No more packing dried codfish for the next global-warming workshops in L.A. We’ll get a place at the sushi bar somewhere now for sure. N.B.: Speaking of paparazzi, imagine the sensation Whoopi Goldberg will cause in Oslo! Idea: We might even want her to confer the “prize prize,” in recognition of her statement that what the Candidate did wasn’t “rape rape.”

3. Further to his moral credit, our Candidate also shows promise of drawing attention to a group badly in need of humanitarian aid: sex tourists who shop for kids. Like Pee-Wee Herman before him, our Candidate stands to become a peacemaker in the most important way of all: as a rallying cry for an oppressed sexual minority.

In fact, he already is one. Just look at the courageous example of French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand, who defended our Candidate against the puritanical Americans — and who now turns out to have written in an “autobiographical novel” about all those “boys” he has romanced for pay in hot-hot-hot Thailand. “The abundance of very attractive and immediately available young boys put me in a state of desire,” M. Mitterrand explained. Personally, your search committee cannot understand what M. Mitterrand’s critics are complaining about. Where did they expect him to go looking for half-naked Asian boys who’ll do anything for money? The Finnmark Plateau?